Now that we are well into the autumn, the black-faced spoonbill, borne south on the northerly winds, are migrating to Tainan, where they will spend the winter months. On Saturday the number of spoonbills broke the 1,000 mark, of which the largest single group — 270 birds — nestled in the Zengwen Estuary Conservation Area in Cigu District, with another 238 coming to rest in Cigu’s Dingshan Salt Flats.
In January, BirdLife International carried out a global black-faced spoonbill census and found that the total global population of the species currently stands at 4,400, the first time since the survey began in 1990 that the number has broken the 4,000 mark. Of these, the largest group — 2,407 — chose Taiwan on which to spend the winter, although the peak number of the migratory bird wintering in Taiwan was in 2017, when 2,601 were counted.
According to Chiu Jen-wu, honorary chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Institute of Tainan, last year a total of 1,900 black-faced spoonbills migrated to Tainan, spending the winter mainly in the Zengwen Estuary, the Dingshan Salt Flats, the Syuejia Wetlands and the Sihcao Wildife Conservation Area in Annan District. Another area popular with the birds is the Nanbudai Wetland in Chiayi County.
Photo courtesy of Wang Su-man
After the first two black-faced spoonbills arrived in Tainan in September, large numbers have come over, flying in on the northerly winds, and the total of over 1,000 birds that have now flown over represents a slight increase compared with the 900 or more that had arrived in Tainan by mid-October last year.
(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
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